The International Journal of Nursing Studies is pleased to announce the publication of a special issue on Language and Communication Issues in Healthcare, guest edited by Allison Squires, PhD, RN, FAAN and Elizabeth Jacobs, MD, MPP. The link to the table of contents can be found here: http://www.journalofnursingstudies.com/current
Articles from this collection highlight the global scope of how language and communication issues affect patient safety in different healthcare settings and care delivery contexts. With growing global immigration, patient safety issues related to communication will only increase in the coming years and thus, the issue is a timely one.
From the special issue’s editorial:
“This special issue is born from our mutual work and concern about how language barriers affect patients under our care and their health outcomes. The papers in this issue illustrate the scope of how language and communication issues affect the care we deliver across care contexts and around the world. With the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, the Americas, and other regions, this issue has additional relevance and importance for health systems that need to adapt to care for this influx of new and diverse patients. We are pleased to share that our special issue covers broad regions of the world and major language groups, from Lori et al.’s (Lori et al., 2015) article looking at antenatal care in Ghana to Tsai et al.’s (Tsai and Lee, 2015) study of health literacy among Asian immigrant women to Taiwan. Our contributors also examine broad contexts of care, including perioperative (Clayton et al., 2014), home care (Nortvedt et al., 2015, Suurmond et al., 2015), long term care (Forsgren et al., 2015), and primary care (Lori et al., 2015, Lor et al., 2015). Health professions studied in these articles are wide ranging and Mikkonen's article offers one of the few interprofessional studies that includes physical therapists (Mikkonen et al., 2015). Hull's (Hull, 2015) article provides an excellent start for those who wish to become familiar with the core concepts behind language and communication. In a state of the science report on language barriers research, a review by Schwei et al. (2015)), illustrates how research production changed after a major US policy initiative that prioritized the study of language barriers on patient outcomes. The trend correlated with changes in immigration patterns to Europe. Im et al.’s (Im et al., 2015) work illustrates how their team compensated for the methodological issues that arose when researching issues with Asians with breast cancer. Al-Amer et al.’s article (Al-Amer et al., 2015) offers insights for researchers working with Arabic speaking clients and how to manage translation issues with that language. The discussion paper by Müller (2015)) illustrates how formal language testing requirements for immigrant students studying nursing in Australia has affected the nursing workforce production and sustainability. Clayton et al.’s (Clayton et al., 2014) study highlights a workplace in transition and the inevitable tensions that arise when the workforce is unprepared to deal with stigma and discrimination (both delivered and received). In a time where global migration creates more culturally diverse societies where multiple languages are spoken, we believe this issue helps to highlight how language and communication issues affect healthcare in similar ways all around the world, from the patient experience to system operations.”